Captain George Buckmaster House« View more Historic Houses
42 Division Street
Newport, Rhode Island
The Captain George Buckmaster House is a four-bay house (also known as a three-quarter house), but not in the traditional sense. Here the doorway is at the end of the front façade, rather than within the façade. Additionally, the chimney is located in a center position, rather than the more common end location when the doorway is located in an end bay. The house was built c.1748 and sits on the original site. It was purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in 1969 and restored in 1972.
Some feel this house may have begun as a small half house or even a very early house similar to the Daniel Carr House at 20 Division Street. Initial investigations revealed a very heavy timber frame with gunstock posts in the front section of the house. The gunstock (flared sections) had been cut away so that straight beaded casings could be applied. The attic area clearly showed evidence of the building being widened from one to two rooms. The basement had evidence of a massive end chimney supported on a brick arch base at the north end of the building. All of these structural elements would indicate that it is safe to date the earliest part of the building c.1710.
The building was probably enlarged when Buckmaster bought the property in 1748. It is believed that he may have also enlarged the house again sometime after the Revolution. If one looks at the house façade, the spacing of the windows on the far right of the first and second floors leaves a wider gap between them than the other windows. Therefore, this section may have been added, along with further additions to the rear, during Buckmaster's ownership.
The practice of adding modern style elements to existing structures was quite common in eighteenth-century Newport and we see this clearly in the Buckmaster House, an early building with details added later to affect the style of the mid- to late eighteenth century.